Dear Family and Friends,
We are so blessed to have each other. We feel the support of our community, our teachers, our school office, our neighbors and friends. We support each other through words, prayers, Facebook likes, shared pictures, and generous acts of thoughtfulness. We remember the psalms, “My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth” (ps. 121). We see Him acting through the efforts of those around us, from our own school community. We feel His assurance in our hearts when we turn to Him in prayer.
Virtual and distance learning continue to provide valid learning to students, the office and faculty continue to maintain valid records of student attendance and progress through our Plus Portals database, and faculty and staff continue to correspond with families to ensure the growth and well-being of students (and parents). This requires an unusual effort given the circumstances, but thanks to all who are making this an effective method of continuing education.
I would like to update you (ten-minute video update) in regard to the principals’ meeting that took place yesterday. The meeting addressed the way to approach the end of the year, a possible return to school in May, and how to approach end-of-the year activities like eighth grade graduation.
Here are the takeaways from yesterday’s meeting of diocesan principals.
Schools will remain closed until April 30th. The diocese will reevaluate as the situation changes over the next two weeks. If the following protocols are effected, we may be able to reconvene classes at St. Paul’s on an appropriate date in May: (1) no statewide or local social distancing restrictions, stay at home orders, or extensive closures of businesses in place; (2) the peak of the state infection curve has passed by 14 days; (3) approval by local public health district; (4) re-entry plan approved by local board of trustees.
These criteria include many ifs. Please respond to this survey to express your feelings about a May return to classes on campus, if we meet the state required criteria.
The next topic was grading. Teachers met yesterday to discuss the difficulties and possibilities for fourth quarter report cards. If learning continues to be on-line for the rest of the quarter, then younger grades will rely more on pass/fail criteria and the older grades will tend more toward letter grades. This will be based ultimately on the professional judgement of the teacher. If a teacher can award a merit-based letter grade for assessments, then teachers will award those grades accordingly, but if it is impossible to assess in a traditional way because of the very non-traditional delivery of instruction and assessment, then teachers will provide feedback to students and parents without being required to provide a letter grade. Questions in this regard should be directed to individual teachers, as this will vary depending on the age of students.
Plans are being considered for end-of-the-year activities in the event that school remains closed through May. We will provide further updates in this regard in the coming weeks.
The school office is maintaining hours to be accessible to the community on Monday through Friday from 8:00-3:00. One of us will be present at all times during those hours, and often beyond. Teachers remain your primary contact for all questions in regard to virtual and distance learning. Feedback from parents has been very positive in this regard with a few exceptions. I invite all constructive feedback as it helps us continue to serve you in ways that are really desired by you, so do not hesitate to make yourself heard.
In Christ we conquer.
Fred Martin, Principal